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Football: Previews of week one's matchups
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South Forsyth's Jordan Brunson rises to his feet after scoring a touchdown during the War Eagles' scrimmage against Sequoyah on Aug. 10, 2018 at South Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer
Forsyth Central vs. Chamblee

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium in Cumming.

Records, rankings: Both teams are 0-0 and unranked.

Series history: Central trails 1-5.

Last meeting: Central lost 29-0 in 2009.

What to know: Could this be where the dam breaks for Central? The Bulldogs haven’t won a game since 2016, but head coach Frank Hepler had stayed extra-optimistic nonetheless, hammering points about the team’s improved participation and conditioning and intact enthusiasm. So far, a new option offense and new defense led by former West coordinator David Rooney has paid off, with Central topping Meadowcreek in its scrimmage last Friday. Quarterback Hunter Cagle got banged up in that game, but that’s unlikely to sink Central’s chances in this game: Chamblee is coming off a 1-10 campaign and hasn’t won more than two games in a season since 2013, when the Bulldogs got six.

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Lambert's Nathan Smith and Miller Jones combine on a tackle Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, against Lanier. /// Photo by Kevin O'Brien
 Lambert vs. Wheeler

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. at The Horn in Suwanee.

Records, rankings: Both teams are 0-0 and unranked.

Series history: Lambert leads 2-0.

Last meeting: Lambert won 36-27 in 2017.

What to know: The Longhorns are coming off a letdown 2017 campaign, in which they finished 3-7 and missed the playoffs after winning the region title in 2016, and they also have the unenviable task of replacing most of their starters from last fall. The unknowns surrounding this team might be more numerous than any program in the county, but last Friday’s scrimmage, in which Lambert ground out a 7-6 victory over Etowah on the road, was an encouraging early sign for the Longhorns. This Friday offers potential for another one, as Wheeler is also in rebuild mode, coming off a 2-8 record in 2017.

 

North Forsyth vs. Cherokee

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Raider Valley in Coal Mountain.

Records, rankings: Both teams are 0-0 and unranked.

Series history: The series is tied at 3-3.

Last meeting: North lost 33-24 in 2015.

What to know: The last time these teams met was the season before current head coach Robert Craft took over. The film from that game will be extra useless for Cherokee’s coaches, mainly because almost every player involved has now graduated, but also because the Raiders have gone from running a Wing-T offense under then-head coach Jason Galt to…well, basically the opposite of that. And while the Raiders have been on an upward swing with Craft, the Warriors just scuffled through an 0-10 campaign. This could be a good opportunity for the Raiders to begin the year on a more positive note than their scrimmage defeat at Dawson County provided.

 

South Forsyth at Sprayberry

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. in Marietta.

Records, rankings: Both teams are 0-0 and unranked.

Series history: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup.

What to know: This will definitely be a lower-key affair than South’s season opener in 2017: That one was at Georgia State Stadium (the former Turner Field) in a Corky Kell Classic matchup against Roswell that the War Eagles won dramatically in overtime. This is at Sprayberry’s comparatively modest digs, against a program that hasn’t been the heavy hitter that Roswell was in recent years. Nonetheless, it could be an illuminating look at a South team that, despite graduating a senior class large in both number and influence, looks to have potential to excite this year, coming off a scrimmage in which the War Eagles gave it to a historically solid Sequoyah program.

 

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West Forsyth sophomore Eli Orr (58) makes a tackle in the Wolverines' scrimmage against Creekview Friday, August 11, 2017. - photo by Michael Chung
West Forsyth at Camden County

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. in Kingsland.

Records, rankings: Both teams are 0-0 and unranked.

Series history: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup.

What to know: And so begins West’s whirlwind non-region schedule: This extra-long road trip brings the Wolverines into the seat of a program that was once one of the finest in the state and still has one of the most intense local followings of anyone. The Wildcats have just five wins total over the past two seasons, but it’s in the assured hands of former North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire, so it wouldn’t be unusual to see an upswing happen soon. The Wolverines, meanwhile, notched a solid scrimmage win at Central Gwinnett last week and boast a stout, experienced defense and an offense with plenty of new roles to iron out. This game will help show where West currently stands, and it’ll also help get them used to travel: The Wolverines have one more long trip, to McCallie in Chattanooga, before the region schedule starts.